Country Music Names: They ain’t what they used to be!

April 10, 2011 Linda Rosenkrantz

In her never-ending search for interesting names, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel tuned into the Country Music Awards  and reports here on what she uncovered.

If you ask me, I’ll insist I don’t like country music.

Except that you’ll find Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris on my iPod. 

Clearly, I’m in denial.  When the Academy of Country Music presented their awards earlier this month, I tuned in.  Sure enough, there was an entire category of names I’d overlooked.

There are some great choices in Nashville’s past: legends like Loretta, Dolly, Merle, and Hank.  But the current crop of recording artists wears names that are just a little bit country.  They’re equally stylish in suburban New Jersey or rural Tennessee.


BentleyHis rise has been attributed to MTV’s Teen Mom and the pricey ride, but country star Dierks Bentley gives it a different spin.

Blake – As in singer Blake Shelton.  I’m fascinated by his middle: Tollison.

Coy – You might remember the name from the Dukes of Hazzard, but today he’s worn by a member of the successful Zac Brown Band.

Darius – The former frontman of Hootie & the Blowfish has transitioned to a successful country music career.

Easton  – The newcomer’s surname, Corbin, might work, too.

JacksonThere’s the Johnny Cash song, and also hitmaker Alan Jackson.

Kiefer – Husband and wife duo Kiefer and Shawna Thompson form Thompson Square.  Proof that the name doesn’t have to pair with the surname Sutherland.Reid – Along with siblings Kimberly and Neil, Reid is a member of The Band Perry.

Rory – Husband and wife duo Joey + Rory will have you guessing who’s who.  Joey is the missus.

TraceLouisiana’s Trace Adkins, born Tracy, has helped reclaim the name for boys.

Zac – First there was tweenage heartthrob Efron, now there’s much-nominated Zac Brown.  In an age of Max and Gus, why not just Zac, too?


AshtonThe singer’s full name is the unexpected Ashton Delilah Shepherd.

CarrieThe most successful American Idol to date.

GentryTroy Gentry is one-half of duo Montgomery Gentry.  The surname could appeal to parents who love Jennifer and Genevieve, but want something a little bit different.

MartinaMartina McBride’s long career has yet to boost her saintly given name.

Miranda – The Nashville Star alum Miranda Lambert puts a different spin on her literary appellation.

Paisley Brad is solidly in dad name territory, but this singer’s surname is catching on for girls.

Reba – A choice from the 1920s and 30s, now almost owned by Reba McEntire.  It could make an unexpected short form for Rebecca.

SunnyTexas native Sunny Sweeney shares her name with Adam Sandler’s younger daughter.

Susie – From the duo The JaneDear Girls.

Which names have I overlooked?  And would you choose a baby name from the Billboard Country charts


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